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Running Wild Cheetah Volunteer Project South Africa

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Join this program for an unforgettable few weeks under the African sun and amongst the endangered cheetah, a species close to extinction. If you have always wanted to see South Africa and be involved with conserving one of Africa’s most graceful cats, this is the place for you.

The Running Wild Conservation Volunteer Project will give you the opportunity to work with these magnificent animals while contributing to real conservation efforts to save the cheetah from going extinct in the wild. Your involvement and help will assist the project to ensure the survival of the species for generations to come.

The centre does not exploit animals for monetary gain and therefore they do not offer public visits to our center and they strictly do not breed for trading purposes. Their only means of income is through volunteers, fundraising and donations.

You will actively help to save the endangered cheetah by getting involved in one of the most exciting Cheetah projects in South Africa. They breed with cheetah for the SOLE purpose of releasing them back into the wild. They are not trading with any of the animals, they are meant for more, to be free and wild again, as they are meant to be. Four of their raised and trained cheetahs have been released so far in the past twelve months, and a further six of them awaiting now their permits to also be released.

Their pledge:
  • To ensure the survival of the cheetah for future generations.
  • To ensure a viable genetic diversity by genetic introduction and studies.
  • To provide crucial education to the public and farming entities.
  • To provide platforms for further carnivore studie
  • To repopulate the now cheetah deprived areas of South Africa.
  • To provide a sanctuary for old, or non-releasable, and mistreated cheetah.
  • To not trade under any circumstances with any of our animals.
  • We will however and only when needed, exchange certain animals for genetic purposes and only with reputable and like minded breeders.
  • To responsibly breed, raise, rewild and release smaller cats (Serval, African Wild Cat & Black Footed Cat) onto private and national reserves.
Goals behind the Running Wild Conservation
As mentioned above the main goal is breeding and releasing cheetah (including other smaller endangered cat species) back into the wild to supplement the current dwindling population. Other goals will include a sanctuary and retirement center for injured, old and orphaned animals that cannot be released. They also work towards the rescue and repatriation of older or mistreated cheetahs from zoos all over the globe and offer these animals a deserved semi freedom in their final years.

As the decline in wild cheetah numbers throughout South African has now more than ever come to a critical point, it is our responsibility to ensure the species has a future for the next generations. With the current number less than 1000 wild cheetah in South Africa, it is imperative that something is done to replenish these dwindling numbers. Over the past decade, no real focus has been put on the cheetah and thus causing a crisis in our healthy genetic population.

Running Wild Conservation has one main goal and that is to breed cheetah and return them to their natural environment. With many years of experience and knowledge of these animals we have developed a unique strategy and program to successfully breed and reintroduce cheetahs back into the wild. The time is now or we might lose these magnificent cats forever.

The need to reintroduce these animals is the only way to eliminate the extinction of the Southern African Cheetah. We strongly believe that we have developed methods to successfully breed and reintroduce cheetahs back into the Free State Province and other regions of South Africa, these methods include predator avoidance, a successful hunting training regime and a well-managed post release monitoring system, de-humanising process, vaccination and health protocol. Due to the costs and lack of expertise, the reintroduction of captive bred cheetahs in South Africa has basically come to a standstill. Running Wild Conservation is dedicated to this purpose. With over fourteen years of combined cheetah experience and more than twenty years combined experience in wildlife and big five game reserves, we have made the decision to dedicate the rest of our lives to the preservation of the cheetah.

With Running Wild Conservation efforts to reintroduce cheetah and smaller felines back into the wild we are adding to the conservation of their natural environment and other inhabitants of this environment.

Breeding only takes place for endangered cats that can be successfully released (Cheetah, Black Footed Cats, Servals, African Wild Cat.) Other animals include injured, orphaned and rescued animals that are not able to be released. Animals at the project include the following: Cheetahs, Lions, Servals, Caracals, Meerkats, African Wild Cats, Black Footed Cats, Genets, Vervet Monkeys, Bat Eared Foxes, Honey Badger, Jackal and Porcupines. Some only temporary for a few months until they have been rehabilitated and ready for release back into a suitable habitat.
  • Age: min.18 - max. 70
  • Location: Bloemfontein
  • Requirements: You need to be physically fit and at least 18 years old. Furthermore, you don’t mind to get your hands dirty.
  • Group size: max 30 participants
  • Project duration: 1 week - 12 weeks
  • Laundry: Laundry can be done on Wednesday's at a cost of R50 per bag/load
  • WIFI: No wifi, but you can purchase a simcard and load data
  • Linen/towels: Linen and towels are provided.
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Location
They are based in the Free State region in Bloemfontein in the heart of South Africa and you are part of this amazing experience. The farm aims to provide a safe haven to wild animals that are in need of a home and to ensure that injured and traumatized animals receive proper medical care. The farm offers you an opportunity to work with the animals and gain experience in activities like cleaning, building enclosures, feeding, and spending time with the animals, as well as the opportunity to unwind in a relaxing Free State setting.

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Requirements
You need to be physically fit and at least 18 years old.

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Accommodation & meals
There are three options for accommodation:

Option 1 - Volunteer House: The three bedroom farm house is within walking distance to the main lodge. There is a fully functional kitchen, one bathroom and an extra bathroom facility at the camp site. 2 – 8 volunteers share one room. Males and females are separate.

Option 2 - Private Room (in volunteer house and if available) This option will give you a private room in our volunteer house. You will share the bathroom and kitchen with the other volunteers. This will cost you R150 per day extra.

Option 3 - Upgrade Room (Lodge) This option will give you a private with an ensuite bathroom, a television, air conditioning and underfloor heating. You will be sharing the kitchen with the other volunteers in the volunteer house. This will cost you R600 per room, per day extra.

MEALS
Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day:
Breakfast : Cereals, fruit, eggs, toast and spreads.
Lunch : Wraps, Hotdogs, Toasted Sandwiches, Burgers, Pitas etc
Dinner : A hot meal will be served every night such as a traditional BBQ, stews, casseroles, fresh vegetables and meats etc.

Tea and coffee will be available. All other drinks will be at own expense, though tap water is safe to drink A generous amount of food will always be given. If snacks are desired there are several grocery stores nearby. There will be refrigeration available for volunteer’s personal food and soft drinks. All dinners will include a meat, starch and vegetable

Important Reminder: You must advise of any dietary needs (e.g. if they are vegetarian or have any allergies) prior to their arrival. Participants with very specific dietary needs may be required to supplement their meals at their own expense.

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Volunteer Project Highlights
  • Work hands on with the big cats such as cheetahs and lions
  • Work hands on with small cats such as caracals and servals
  • Live in close proximity to the lion and cheetah enclosures
  • Experience first-hand all aspects of the animals life
  • Be part of a very passionate team
  • Learn about conservation and Africa’s wild animals
  • Experience the farm animals living free amongst the wild animals
A volunteer's day will consist of daily tasks including animal enrichment, enclosure cleaning, data collecting, behaviour monitoring, animal stimulation projects, tasks in and around the animal enclosures, feeding and meat preparation.

You, as a volunteer, will be involved in the following activities:
  • Monitoring and data capture of the animals and their health and behaviour
  • Cleaning and maintenance of the enclosure
  • General camp upkeep
  • Assist/help prepare food for animals and feed them
  • Remove bones etc. left over from the animal feeding and overall cleaning of camps.
  • Clean water dams and bowls and refresh with clean water
  • Assist with fitness training as well as help improving cheetah’s hunting skills by helping staff with the cheetah run on the lure machine
  • Bush clearing and creating pathways
  • Removal of invasive plant species
  • Maintenance work: building, painting or repair work for animal night enclosures and other structures
You will also have the chance to be actively involved in the re-homing and release of meerkat colonies as well as vervet monkeys. The aim is to enlighten you in the true conservation efforts done in terms of rehabilitation and release of captive animals. Also that you leave us with added skills in animal husbandry as well as the skills and basic knowledge needed to run and manage a project of this kind.

The centre is all about the animals. The farm is home to a variety of wild animals such as lions, cheetahs, servals, caracals, black footed cats, even the mischievous meerkats and more. The farm acts also as a home to wild cats that are not able to be released back into the wild, as well as a “day care” for animals that were abandoned, injured, traumatised, in need of care, support, medical attention and a home.

You will work 6 days per week. Sundays are generally your day off and will give you a chance to settle into the farm or go on nearby excursions. Wednesday afternoons are also your off time to spend as you wish. Please note, this routine is kept as best as possible, however, working with animals sometimes requires a flexible schedule. The above outline is subject to change.

You will get the chance to enjoy the local night life on occasion and transport for this will be arranged. Other outings at an additional cost and dependant on the length of your stay can include a trip to game reserves, trips to the world renowned town of Clarence, horse riding, paintball, live music shows, sky diving, zip lining, BBQ nights, star talks, and many more.

Supervision / Co-ordination
As the nature of the work varies we will place volunteers under the supervision of various staff members, as will be explained in the itinerary. We will have one member of our team assigned as “team leader” to facilitate the smooth operation of the volunteers stay and provide guidance where necessary.

The Volunteer Leader
Many programs will have a volunteer Leader. This person is usually a volunteer who is on a long term contract or has volunteered on the same project in the past – they are not professional guides. The Leader can be of great assistance when a problem arises though please approach them at a convenient time outside of busy working hours.

Volunteer work – some examples
It is important to realize that not all the work will be easy or 'romantic'. Many times you will need to roll-up your sleeves and get dirty like: working with raw meat, cage cleaning, etc. Keep a positive attitude and note that mundane tasks contribute and are also VERY important to the program. Also remember mundane tasks are not given to you on purpose but forms part of the overall volunteer experience as it takes care of the needs of the overall project.
Dates
The project starts each Monday and the minimum duration is 2 weeks.

Rates

Duration Fee
2 weeks1200 USD
3 weeks1650 USD
4 weeks2050 USD

Rates includes
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Return transfer from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein where you will be picked up by the project
  • Weekly town trips
Rates excludes
  • Flights
  • Visa fees (if required)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Weekend activities and trips
Click here to sign up.







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